Today we’re going to take a man who doesn’t normally eat breakfast and send him to one of the fanciest hotels in London to eat their breakfast instead. Let’s see what happens…
What Is It?
The St James’s Hotel and Club’s Wellness Breakfast menu. It consists of three ‘healthy’ small dishes and a green smoothie, served simultaneously. The smoothie was originally created for her of Burlesque fame, Dita von Teese, when she stayed at the hotel.
They’re going with the somewhat cringy #WellnessOnTheMove, but they make quite clear that this is not ‘detox’ food – it’s nourishment. Psychologically healthy and at odds with the pseudoscience of the #CleanEating movement, excellent!
Chef William Drabble heads up the hotel’s restaurant, Seven Park Place – which has 4 AA Rosettes and one Michelin Star, last time I checked. He’s making quite a name for himself.
It’s in St James. You know the drill – old town houses with columned fronts, property values that make the rest of the country laugh at the state of things in London. Parks and green spaces nearby.
The hotel is located near the end of Park Place (a little off the road and out of the cut and thrust of St. James proper). As I get to the entrance I wonder if people would come here ‘just for breakfast’? They must be coming for dinner, what with the press the place is getting.
Step inside to a background of swing jazz tunes, old style ‘crooners’ and title tracks stripped off of old film soundtrack CDs.
Looking around me, there’s a moment in which I wonder if I am soon to be subjected to a ‘hotel breakfast’. You know the one, slightly grim; 4 breakfast cereals, plus finely sliced ham, filter coffee and those tiny marmalade packets. All you can eat and all included in the bill. I see the cereals arrayed before me.
The sinking feeling is not aided but an atmosphere that is initially stuffy – both in temperature and a dismissive reception (or non-reception) from the hostess; though the maitre’d turns out to be a fine West African chap with a more hospitable way about him.
I am located in the bar area where said waitress greets people as they come in. This creates a farcical moment where she offers a “good morning” to someone coming in behind me, and I respond to a good morning that is not for me :3
The clientele is, as you would expect, an international affair, lots of Australian and American accents. Some say Americans are not polite but they were never seated behind this American guy…
Everyone else eating here probably stayed here and probably had the disposable income to do it. Being here for a review without a plus one gives me plenty of time to live in my head and consider my life and the impossibility of luxurious spaces. I gaze out the window and wonder about these expensive townhouses and history saturated streets.
Food arrives rather quickly, interrupting my reveries. This Wellness Breakfast menu is £27.50 and one of a few options including a Continental and an English…
Starting with coffee (the correct order to everything in life…).
It’s a filter coffee that is just OK, as opposed to a ‘proper espresso’ (which I could do with right now). They obviously serve espresso based coffee here but I don’t believe this is part of this menu. As is usually the case with the weaker filter coffees, you hardly feel the caffeine at all 🙁
Onto the solid foods, with the rationale that ‘if I can’t get caffeine, I’ll get calories’…
Oatmeal and cottage cheese pancakes with smoked salmon and avocado
This salmon pancake is very delicious and apparently doused in high quality yellow olive oil. The pancakes themselves are quite rich and satisfying, stacked two high. The little bits of cubed avocado are as perfect as nature made them, adding that kind of cool and slightly bitter creaminess that fresh avocado provides.
Quinoa crumpets with baked banana and coconut yoghurt
An exciting looking quinoa banana creation, hindered by tendancy to dryness and falling apart. The yoghurt melts off of the the top over time, so you end up trying to eat it carefully and quickly. Exciting textures I guess, quinoa adds novelty – it is quite dry and badly fragmented though, the yoghurt doesn’t go far enough to bind it together. Consequently, it all disintegrates about one-third of the way through eating.
Consequently, it all disintegrates about one-third of the way through eating. I think they’ve put manuka honey on this one, for what that’s worth.
Oatmeal and cottage cheese pancakes with smoked salmon and avocado
Introducing; the tiniest portion of porridge with added nuts that the world has ever seen. It’s like a canape. They have made it a lot more milky (dare I say watery?) than I normally serve my porridge, but they’ve made it with almond milk, which is fantastic. All in all, it’s slightly sweet and nutty, and topped with tasty berries.
Great taste but about 6 times too small, and too milky.
‘Glowing green smoothie’
It smells super grassy and when it first hits the tongue is not nearly as sweet as I expect. A lack of fruit sugars makes this one of the more healthy blended foods, but at a price premium. The texture is course, and you get the apple flavour most predominantly.
In reflection, I feel like I should get a Nutribullet and slam one of these every day. This could be the placebo effect, but as we know the placebo effect works!
Will it make me feel better later on? Time will tell, in the meantime the coffee makes me feel better – though without quite the alchemical biochemical kick of a good espresso…
I use a spoon to collect the rough bits that refuse to go down with the ship, telling myself in the manner of a mother of lecturing her child that it’s good for me. It’s not exactly delicious but I appreciate the quality of its ingredients. This is a ‘proper smoothie’, the kind of thing that Jack LaLanne would have you downing in-between back to back sets of close grip press ups and v sit crunches that make your insides hurt.
Well, it is satisfying, I’ll say that. The portion is definitely what you could call a ‘hearty breakfast’ but as to be expected, the price point is…’lofty’.
I’m trying to think of the target market for this stuff, and all that really comes to mind are the kind of polite, well spoken and well-heeled hotel guests I’ve been seated with. And Insta-Glamorous individuals with large followings, corporate sponsorships/partnerships, and who use hashtags like #Detox and #EatClean seriously.
As I am not a wealthy guest, I wonder for a moment which category I fit into. It’s OK, I’m not Insta-Glamorous and I do not have a large following. Maybe there are more categories?
All in all, I enjoyed this (even as a man who normally skips breakfast). I felt as nourished as the menu’s description promises (though the coffee leaves much to be desired).
That said, I’d not go out of my way for it, and I wouldn’t pay the asking price. Make of that what you will.
Not bad, St. James Hotel and Club!
7-8 Park Pl, St. James’s, London SW1A 1LS,